No visitor arrives with more enthusiasm in a place as arid as Kenya's Tsavo West National Park than the water guy.
Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua is the name. The elephants, buffalo, antelope, and zebras flee away as soon as he rolls down the dusty road while hauling about 3,000 gallons of fresh water.
By the sound of his motor, they have become accustomed to the water man. and his vital cargo.
According to Mwalua, "There is absolutely no water, thus the animals are dependent on humans." "They are going to perish if we don't help them."
Every day for hours, Mwalua drives to deliver water to the area's parched watering holes, filling them to capacity.
The concrete-lined holes frequently need cleaning; Mwalua attributes this to buffalo droppings. On occasion, he will just water out a patch of cracked ground for the appreciative animals.
He claims that by rolling in the mud, buffalo suffocate fleas and ticks.
Animals quickly swarm the vehicle as Mwalua turns the tap on, not even waiting that long.
He continues, "Last night, I discovered 500 buffalo waiting at the water hole." "The buffalo were so eager and coming right up to us when I got there; they could smell the water.
While I was still standing there, they began to drink water. They become very energetic.
Mwalua, a pea farmer in his community, developed the concept after witnessing firsthand the terrible toll that climate change has done on his home country. He claims that the region has received very little precipitation, especially in the past year, causing animals to starve to death in these fractured plains.
He claims, "We aren't actually getting rain like we used to." Since there was no rain at all in June of last year, I began providing water for the animals because I believed that if I didn't, they would perish.
Mwalua oversees the Tsavo Volunteers conservation organization in between road trips. Additionally, the 41-year-old goes to nearby schools to speak with students about the wildlife that is their legacy.
I was raised surrounded by wildlife and was born here, therefore I have a great interest for nature, he claims. I made the decision to raise awareness of this so that when they grow up, they can safeguard their local animals.
In order to provide water to various sites in Tsavo West, Mwalua started renting a truck. His mission would encompass numerous trucks, requiring him to travel long distances between stops for several hours each day.
The truck is hefty and moves slowly, he claims. We must go supply water while exercising extreme patience.
However, his lifeline has also reached as far as the United States, where three ladies who have never met him or each other assist him in keeping the taps open.
Angie Brown, a resident of Connecticut, tells The Dodo in an interview, "I visited Kenya in December 2015, but I didn't know Patrick at the time or meet him. However, the nation tormented her, particularly the suffering of its creatures.
Brown connected with Cher Callaway and Tami Calliope on Facebook when she learned about the most recent drought. The trio—Calaway, who resides in Utah, and Calliope, who is in Vermont—decided to assist.
Callaway, who has collaborated with Mwalua on a number of projects, claims that Kenya's water delivery guy is keeping animals alive during the present drought. These projects include beehive fundraisers and night patrols to gently scare elephants away from villages.
She tells The Dodo that "his dedication to the wildlife and his heritage is unmeasurable." Even putting his own life in danger to bring water to a dry water hole in the middle of the night.
All of the money raised through Callaway's GoFundMe campaign, which has received more than $18,000 from donors worldwide, will go toward Mwalua's water delivery service.
Brown claims that the GoFundMe campaign has been a great success because "we have all spent a lot of time spreading the news about the animals Patrick is assisting." But he needs so much more cash.
In fact, they intend to soon get him a truck of his own.
But nonetheless, Mwalua will continue to rumble down those arid roads. a long way to go. many more mouths that are thirsty.
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